Salt Lake City, UT Chosen Over Denver, CO if US Bids to Host 2030 Winter Olympics

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Salt Lake City, UT has been chosen over Denver, CO in the bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympics. If the US does bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, it will be the first time the country has bid for the Games since the Utah capital hosted back in 2002.

“The USOC board of directors has expressed interest in bidding for future Winter Games but has not determined when a formal bid may occur,” the USOC said in a statement Friday. “This selection affords the USOC and Salt Lake City the opportunity to move forward with the International Olympic Committee’s ongoing dialogue phase.”

Salt Lake City was chosen over Denver — expected given its stronger local venue plan. Denver also has the stigma of being awarded the 1976 Winter Olympics and handing them back to the IOC two years later. A third candidate, the Reno-Tahoe region, withdrew from the race last month reports NBC Sports. The US is already co-hosting the 2026 World Cup in various cities and holding the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

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Salt Lake City already has the infrastructure in place. Credit: wikimedia

A Salt Lake City bid could reuse many facilities from the 2002 Winter Games: the Utah Jazz arena hosted figure skating and short track speed skating, the University of Utah’s football stadium held Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the Utah Olympic Oval in nearby Kearns had long-track speed skating and skiing and snowboarding events were in Park City, a 45-minute drive east of the capital.

International Olympic Committee members are expected to vote on the 2030 host city in 2023. There are no formal confirmed bids. Nor is there a bid process with the Games so far away.

“We have not yet made a determination about that bid and the timing of that bid,” USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland told NBC Sports. “The work that we’ll do is continue to refine the possibility, refine the plan for a potential bid, but at this point there is no determination nor is there an active process of bidding that will take place. In some regards, we have the luxury of some time.”

Lillehammer, Norway, the 1994 Winter Olympic host, was reportedly planning a 2026 or 2030 Winter Olympic bid in March, but there has been no recent news on its progress. Most Olympic bids are finalized one to two years in advance of the IOC vote.

The 2026 Winter Olympic bid race is closed with two finalists — Stockholm, Sweden, and a joint Italian bid between Cortina d’Ampezzo and Milan. IOC members will vote in June. That means North America will go at least 20 years between hosting the Winter Olympics, the continent’s largest gap in 50 years.


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